Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My foot's in my mouth...and I'm bald.

I had a dream the other night that I was hanging out with a cluster of my friends, when a woman with Male Pattern Baldness walked by.  Not like "thinning" hair, though, the horseshoe-around the back of the head hair that both my grandfathers, my father, and eventually I will have.

As I was staring at this woman, probably a little too blatantly, one of my friends said, “Hey Brian, she looks like you!” 

I reached up to my head, and lo and behold, I was bald.

And then I woke up. 

Monday, September 28, 2009

Choo Choo Two

(Written Saturday, September 26th)

“Let’s see…if going south on the Minnesota side, we want to sit on the…left side of the train,” a noisy woman who just may know it all said to her quiet husband as they passed me in the dining car. It’s 7:35am and I’m on the train again. Destination: unknown.

Just kidding. I’m going to La Crosse.

The sun is nauseatingly beautiful this morning, and even though it’s getting in my eyes, the orange haze it’s casting all over the dome car (or dining car, viewing deck, whatever) makes the low number on my watch and the slight headache I’m experiencing worth it.

A six-year-old girl came and sat across from me as her mom went to go get some juice for breakfast. She gave me a play-by-play on the size, color, and shape of the Froot Loops she was eating one by one out of a Tupperware container. She also told me that she wanted to guess my age, and when she did, she guessed 40. 

As a 21-year-old, I can’t say I’ve ever experienced that. 

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Witnessing Momentary Performances

Last week I marked two calendars, made major plans, and got really excited to go see a man with a white hat pushing a bicycle stop to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Lee Walton is an Experientialist artist who has set up seven performances in the Minneapolis area over the next three months. I could go on and on trying to explain this guy, but I suggest you just go to his website to experience his work for yourself.  Or hey, come to Bethel! I’ll treat you to a smoothie at Royal Grounds.

Anyway, a week before Friday, these words were put on the wall of Cuzzy’s Bar in Minneapolis.

Like I said, I marked my calendar, and Christie and I made a date to go watch, sure enough, at 6pm, a man with a blue hat pushing a bicycle eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. So random, yet so deliberate.

I’m currently obsessed with his work. Here’s a schedule for the next six performances. I’ll be going to all of them. 

Outside of Barbette Restaurant 
1600 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408 
Wednesday, September 30 at 10:00am 
Person with wiffle ball bat walks curb before finding a penny

Across from the Black Dog Café 
at the corner or Broadway St. and Prince St, Lowertown, St. Paul, MN 
Sunday, October 11 at noon 
Person walking with purpose stops to answer cell phone, turns 360 degrees

Outside of Whitey's Saloon
400 E. Hennepin Ave. Minneapolis, MN 
Tuesday, October 13, 2:00pm 
Person sitting with legs crossed, drinks a Pepsi while thinking about an old friend.

Outside of the Red Stag
509 1st Avenue NE, Minneapolis, MN 
Monday, October 19 at 11:59pm 
Person with backpack relieves an itch

701 Washington Ave. N (between 7th Ave. N and 8th Ave. N), Warehouse District, Minneapolis, MN
Saturday, November 1 at 1:00pm 
Person walks by wearing mostly blue carrying 2 gallons of milk.

Bethel University Campus, Brushaber Commons, 2nd floor
3900 Bethel Drive, St. Paul MN 
Thursday, November 5 at 4:15pm 
Two students with brightly colors shoelaces kiss before going separate ways.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Guess what the sky is tonight...


And what’s cancelled when the sky is cloudy?

MY ASTRONOMY CLASS, which is actually really fun but there’s just something about not having to go to class.

And what else does that mean?

That I’m free until 10, and then I’m back to my regular 10p.m. - 1a.m. slice of free time.

And what will I do with all that time? 

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Things That Hold Things

For probably six years or so, I have developed a mildly passionate obsession for Things That Hold Things.  What do I mean by Things That Hold Things, you ask? I mean anyThing That is specifically elected to Hold another Thing. 

Pencil holders.

Desk-organizational thingies.

Anything cute with a drawer



Waste Paper Baskets.

You name it. I love it. Take me to Office Max, and that’s the first place I’ll go and drool. Opening and closing drawers, imagining what I could put in this box, in that container, just besieged and smiling at all the Stuff That Holds Stuff. (Then I would head over to the Sharpie aisle, but that’s a different story.)

[Disregard the Dwight Bobblehead. I just wanted to show it off.]

I recently added to my collection by purchasing something called The Really Useful Box.  And I have to say, this Thing That Holds Things actually is a Really Useful Box. At three by five inches, I could put anything in it. Anything in the world. Currently, it’s holding my Spanish flashcards.

[Hey there, gorgeous.]

And now there’s one less item that doesn’t have it’s own cute little place in my room. Ah, Things That Hold Things, I love you. I truly love you. 

Friday, September 18, 2009

Over the Handlebars

I’ve ridden my bike to class every fair-weather day for the past two years. I gingerly lean through sharp turns, pedal up and down hills with ease, maybe pop a wheelie three inches off the ground. I’m really good.
This week, however, the earth must have rotated a bit faster, the wind must have been a little bit stronger, or those darn landscapers must have moved the rock wall on that corner two inches to the right, because I fell off my bike.
I felt like Calvin learning to ride his bike in the old comic strips. And when I fell, it wasn’t like a stumbled to the side and got back on, I was actually thrown over the handlebars.

The first time I was trying to run into Christie’s wheel with mine, got tangled up, and went flying. The second time, I ran into a rock wall on campus and, again, was thrown over my handlebars and crashed into the ground, slamming my shoulder on Christie’s wheel, and bending it. 
The wheel, not my shoulder.
I’m a little discouraged to get back on.  I’ve been told it’s just like riding a bike. That doesn’t really help.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Getting My Sweet Shop On

Next to the old Maid-Rite restaurant, there’s a small candy and ice cream shop in La Crosse called The Sweet Shop.  I took a trip there this summer with Christie.  Up until this summer, I had forgotten about it.  And I had forgotten that I had taken pictures of it until the writer of one of my favorite blogs wrote about her much loved ice cream shop in her hometown. So I’m copying her. No big deal, right?

When we got there, one of the employees—scratch that, insert “one of the two employees”—was out in front of the shop feeding almonds to squirrel. When we went inside, this man helped us decide what flavor of ice cream to get…

[Who wouldn’t buy ice cream from this guy?]
I bought cotton candy and fruit loops flavor. Real sophisticated. Christie got mint chocolate chip. (Ahem, loser.) 

Monday, September 14, 2009

It's Fall Over There

It’s not cold yet, but I can feel it approaching. The sumac is halfway red. I longingly look at the sweaters in my bottom drawer and my $30 Gap gift certificate that I will use to buy the itchiest, fluffiest, comfiest, warmest, coolest, fall sweater I’ve ever known is burning a hole in my pocket.

Fall’s coming.

Christie and I get excited to see the early-bloomers of colored leaves.  (I wonder if they are as envied by other trees as the early-bloomers in grade school were. Just a thought.)  “Look! It’s fall over there!” Christie says whenever we walk past a bright orange tree. It’s almost fall over by a tree right next to my dorm.

I’m past the [sigh] I wish summer would last forever stage and I’m thirsting for some crisp fall air and leaves to crunch under my bicycle tires. Bring on the cold, Minnesota! I know you can do it! 

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Choo choo

I love taking the train.

I’m currently sitting in the viewing car #11 on the Amtrak passenger train to La Crosse. It’s 8:30 a.m., first-time riders are stumbling past me in the aisle and sleeper car passengers are dragging themselves out of bed in time to get the last breakfast sandwich at the snack bar. I’m drinking an apple juice, completely distracted from my homework by the conversations happening around me, and I’m having the time of my life.

Believe me, I’m not a morning person. Waking up to get anywhere by 7:50 a.m. would usually cause nothing but chagrin with me. However, when I get to take the sunrise train from MSP (Minneapolis/St. Paul) station to LSE (La Crosse…this is all train lingo, by the way) station, I’m energized like never before.

There’s just something about the train.

I wonder if the man sitting across from me reading Moneyball, by Michael Lewis can concentrate on the book when he has iPod earbuds in his ears. Maybe he’s playing the audio version of Moneyball and is reading along.

I wonder if the 60-something woman sitting with her 60-something giggling and gossiping friends at the table behind me will ever learn how to play the game of Hearts they’re noisily teaching her, all the while laughing and snorting at her inability to remember the rules.

The elderly people sitting kitty-corner to me want nothing more than to have a conversation with someone. Maybe they’re riding the train for the first time in a long, long time, and they just want to share their excitement. The young guy sitting across from them, however, seems grumpy and unwilling to talk. Look my way, elderly couple.

Conversations never cease to be interesting on the train. I’ve met a woman suffering from a past-midlife crisis who decided to ride around the country on the train. I met a hypnotist-turned-psychologist-turned-pastor-turned-loaner who did his best to make me accept Jesus into my heart. And I just learned that the iPod guy sitting across from me is a financial advisor for a school district in St. Louis, Missouri.

Like I said, there’s just something about the train. Something that makes people be willing to tell their life stories to complete strangers and then ask their names later. I love it. 

Friday, September 11, 2009

Planner Problem

I bought a new planner today, and believe you me, it was not purchased without an anticipatory feeling of guilt.

Here’s my deal with planners. Once, maybe twice a year, I get a new planner. I usually go to Barnes & Noble confident that I’m going to find the perfect one for me and it will change my life. Maybe I’ll even buy a new fancy pen to use only with this new planner. The problem is, I never end up using it habitually. You’d think someone as persnickety as me would love something like that, but no. I’m pretty sure I can find a pretty hefty stack of planners that have only two weeks filled out.

Nonetheless, I have not yet learned my lesson.

Maybe this year, with my new goal, I’ll use it more. It’s still not looking too promising, though. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Clay Version Of Me.

Christie and I were staying late in the 3D Design room to work on a sculpting project this evening. Finding the art room to be much more fun alone late at night, we swung from a chain used to lift big art pieces and made a 5-minute likeness of me. I'm responsible for the body and Christie sculpted the head. It's like i'm looking in the mirror when I look at this bad boy.

Sent from my BlackBerry Smartphone provided by Alltel

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


After falling asleep the other night, I woke up in a jungle. 

Yes, a jungle.

In front of me was my Roland RD-700 keyboard, resting swayingly on a rickety wooden table with wheels.

“You ready to lead this thing?” the director of the choir I’m a part of at school said as he patted me on the back.  A tribe of people clothed in elaborate headdresses and body paint stretched their leg muscles in front of my group like a bunch of athletes before a game. Looking behind me, I saw a bored and yawning Bethel Choir. 

Like this. An actual picture of a bored Bethel Choir. (I'm one of the people in this picture, by the way.) 

“I don’t really know how I’ll be able to push this on the jungle floor—“ I began, until being interrupted with…

“Here it starts!” he exclaimed, “This will be the best stampede ever!"

And start it did. 

The sound of thunder rumbled beneath my feet.  The jungle was brought to life as a herd of 50 giraffes sped in a mad dash past us, perpendicular to the tropical hangar we were waiting on. Cows followed the giraffes, then zebras, then ostriches.  Looking closer, I noticed pugs running between the long legs of their stampeding cohorts.

As the charge grew louder, I watched as the tribe in front of me joined the chaotic parade. My group ambled up to where the tribe stood. My keyboard shook on the uneven ground.  Are we really supposed to join this madness? I’m not sure we really rehearsed for anything. And who the hell would ask me to lead with the keyboard??

“Brian!” shouted our director, “Get going!”

Oh man, I thought, and we joined the freight train of running animals.

And then I woke up. 

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Dream Comes True

A few weeks ago I was driving in BBB (Brian’s Bitching Buick) and I found something that literally made me slam on my breaks and pull over.

That’s right, readers.  Just like in my first post called Popcorn Day (the dream after which this whole blog is named), there exists a “Walnut Street.”

I was in La Crescent, Minnesota (across the Mississippi from La Crosse, named just so people confuse the two) when I realized I was driving on it. 

Sure, I wrote originally that it was “Walnut Lane,” and this is “North Walnut Street,” but this is just too darn close to even be bothered about whether it was a street or a lane. It could have been an avenue, for all I care.  Or a path.

Anyway. Walnut Street. It’s a pretty big deal.

No popcorn, though.

But I danced a little. 

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far...

Every day, when I know I’m done with everything I need to do for the day, I empty my pockets.

Chapstick, gum, keys, coins, Bethel I.D., cell phone, and wallet.

It’s just nice to feel freedom down there. To not sit on a big, leather square, to not hear jingling every time I take a step, to know that nothing is going to jab me in the leg—is a great thing.

I was told recently that not only do I do this, but my father does. And his father. And his father.

Something I thought was normal and unintentional is actually deeply ingrained in my blood.  Like father, like son. Like son. Like son.

I have to find a new mindless, habitual routine to call my own. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Back to Ol' B.U.

Oh, snap. 

(That’s not a “me” kind of phrase, is it?)

Whether it fits me or not, I’m back at college. B-E-T-H-E-L University. Bethel, in Hebrew or something, means “The House of God.” Even though I love a lot about this university, I would probably call it something different if I was in charge of naming it. But that’s something completely different that belongs on another ranting blog—not this non-ranting blog I promised it would be.

Unfortunately this year I didn’t come to school tanned, bulked-up, or sexier (which has been my fervent goal ever since I was old enough to care).  I wonder if anyone else had that mindset at the end of each school year. This summer I’m going to get muscular, tanner, I’ll get a new hairdo, my teeth will be whiter and straighter…I’ll be a completely different person! Maybe I’ll even have a girlfriend slung under my arm to strut into school with.

Needless to say, I’m still my skinny, pale (scratch that—farmer’s tan-clad), dorky self.  

[Remember me? I look like an anorexic Doug Funny.]

Anyway. The point is: I’m back, and I’m ready to actually succeed in my third year of college.

I realized a while ago that I have not received an “A” as a final grade in a serious class (by “serious” I mean not Gym or something like that) since middle school.  My mom would tell you, “Listen, it’s not that he can’t get A’s…he just doesn’t work hard enough."

And that’s true, I guess.

Jeez, I hate it when my mom’s right.

So it’s my goal this semester to receive an A as a final grade in a serious class.  I’ll let you know how this objective pans out.